Workflow approvals are ideal any time you need to standardize your approval process. Major initiatives might need budgetary approval before work can begin. Content marketing campaigns might need to pass a copyedit review before publication. Workflow approvals in Aha! streamline review cycles and focus your team on consistent delivery and high-quality work.
There are two types of workflows in Aha! — flexible and fixed.
- Flexible workflows are best suited for teams who do not need a formal approval process to manage work.
- Fixed workflows are best suited for workflows that need to be consistent and require formal approval before work can proceed.
In a fixed workflow, the only way to change the status of a record is via a transition button. Adding an optional approval step to a transition automatically creates an approval task, assigns it to an approval group, and sets a due date. A workflow approvals section will appear in the drawer view of your records. This is where assignees can choose to approve, approve with changes, or reject work. You can also view the status of approval tasks in a pivot report.
Click any of the following links to skip ahead:
- Create workflow approval groups
- Populate workflow approval groups
- Add approval gates to a fixed workflow
- Use approval to-dos
- Report on workflow approvals
Create workflow approval groups
If fixed workflows make sense for your team, you can decide to add approval gates to any status transition. Approval gates block a record from moving to the next stage in its workflow until an approval group gives their approval. An approval group could be a group of people or a single user in your Aha! account.
To create a workflow approval group, you will need to be an administrator with customizations permissions.
- Navigate to Settings ⚙️> Account > Configure workflow approval groups to get started.
- Click the Add group button to create a new group. At this point, you aren't assigning users to your group; you are just creating the group name.
Approval groups could be called Legal, Finance, Subject Matter Experts, Copyedit — any group that you think will need to review a record before it can progress in its workflow.
Populate workflow approval groups
Now that you have created a workflow approval group, it is time to add users to it.
To populate workflow approval groups, you will need to be a workspace owner.
- Navigate to Settings ⚙️> Parent line > Workflow approval groups to get started. If you populate the approval group from the parent line level, all child workspaces under that parent line can choose to inherit the users in the approval group.
- You will see a list of available approval groups and any users inherited from a parent line. Add users in the Users for this workspace column.
Note: Any users you add here will replace any users inherited from the parent line.
- Navigate to Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Workflow approval groups to see your populated approval groups. Just like you did in the parent line, you can also choose to add users to the Users for this workspace column and create an approval group unique to that workspace.
Add approval gates to a fixed workflow
With approval groups created and populated, you are ready to add approval gates to a fixed workflow.
To create a fixed workflow, you will need to be an administrator with customizations permissions.
- Navigate to Settings ⚙️> Account > Configure statuses and workflows to get started.
- From the page, you can choose to Add a new workflow or use the filters to select an existing one.
- Once you have clicked on a workflow, select Fixed. The Transitions column will change to Transitions and approvals.
- In a fixed workflow, records can only progress along the statuses and transitions that you allow, so you will need to create a transition for every allowed status change. Transitions do not need to have approval gates.
You can add approval gates to any status transition. Click Add status transition or click Edit on an existing transition to add an approval gate. Add an approval gate to the originating status — so, if you want a formal approval before an initiative moves from Not started to In progress, add a status transition to the Not started status transition.
Note: You will likely want to create a separate status for the review period. Then, for example, your record can transition from Not started to In review to In progress. An approval gate between In review and In progress would move the record to In progress if approved, and back to Not started if rejected.
Once you have the Add or Edit transition modal open:
- Choose which status you want to transition to. Statuses can have multiple transitions and transitions do not have to be linear — Not started can have separate transitions into Will not do, Research, and In development, for example.
- Check Approval required to add an approval gate. You can add multiple approval gates to each status transition if the workflow needs approvals from several different approval groups.
Approval gates function like to-dos, with a few key differences. They are assigned to approval groups, not individuals, and they can be resolved three ways: with Approval, Approval with changes, or Reject. When an approval to-do has been resolved, the record will move to the next status in the transition.
- Name your approval gate the way you would a to-do, describing the task required.
- Add a Description.
- Assign the approval gate to an approval group.
- Check whether the approval gate requires Any or All approvals. If there are multiple users in an approval group, this determines whether you need approval from each group member or only one.
- Set the Due date.
- Set the If rejected status. If the approval is rejected, this is the status the record should revert to.
- Click Save to save your changes.
Note: You can change these to-do details later, even after the approval to-do has been sent, to personalize the approval to-do to the unique record and review.
Under the Transitions and approvals column, you will now see your transition.
- Remember, workspace owners will need to select your workflow in Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Configure before records in that workspace will use your workflow.
- If you change the workflow for a record type in Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Configure, it will change the statuses for all records in that workspace, which cannot be undone.
Use approval to-dos
You can be assigned an approval to-do three ways:
- If you are a member of an approval group and a record transitions to a status with an approval gate.
- If someone assigns you an approval to-do.
- Anytime you create a to-do and choose the Approval to-do type.
Contributors can edit approval to-dos so that users can add useful details to the standard approval to-do.
Workflow approval to-dos will appear in the Workflow approvals section of a record; approval to-dos appear in the To-dos section of a record in a Pending status. Both function the same way. You have the option to Comment only, Approve, Approve with changes, and Reject. Use comments to discuss the approval and Approve with changes if your approval is contingent on a few minor changes that do not require another formal approval.
Note: If you are using a flexible workflow but still want occasional approvals, you can create approval to-dos as needed. Approval to-dos will not block a record from transitioning to a new status, but they do add a level of formality that normal to-dos do not.
Report on workflow approvals
Just like other data elements in Aha!, you can report on workflow approvals.
- On any record using a fixed workflow, scroll down to the Workflow approvals section and click View in pivot report to view a pre-built report on the approvals by record and status transition.
- Build reports using Approval as a primary record type.
- Once you have built approval reports, share them as webpages or add them to a presentation, and keep key stakeholders informed.